01 April, 2015

Asura's Advocate

Being born into a classic Hindu family, I’ve been acquainted with astrology ever since I could remember. As I grew older, the ritual belief started manifesting itself in me as a stubborn interest to discover the unknown.  When people ask me whether I believe in “Astrology for the Crazy”, I give a blank nod. Well, the fact is, I believe in the science, only when it predicts good things for me. So, I’d rather have you call it – “Astrology for the Opportunists”.

Anyway, today being the first day and post of the April #A-ZChallenge, my post is going to be about a character I discovered and grew close to through my keen oddity involving astrology.

An ‘Asura’ – is characterized by aggression, and vehement passion for power and life. He lives a day at a time, and lives it to the fullest.

From a very young age, us Indian kids have listened to our grandmothers endlessly recite tales of various asuras being defeated till the ground beneath their feet hauled them into ‘Naraka’. However, I had a very different taste when it came to mythologies; I went for the brave than the noble. And hence, ended up falling in love with Durga and Shiva for their braveries. People with valiant and fearless personalities were always among my favorites than the meek Devas who sat in Devaloka immersed in the immaterial gossip.
PC: http://blog.ninapaley.com/

It is significant that it was not for their sins that the anti-gods had to be destroyed but because of their power, their virtue, their knowledge, which threatened that of gods” – Alain Danielou ( Via Wiki)

Here are some of the random things about Asuras that amaze me:

1.       They were marked by passion and determination. The gods were terrified of their iron-willed personalities. In many of the stories I've come across – most of the Asuras meditated in excruciating physical conditions for years, till the gods gave them an apparition and granted them wishes.

2.       Ravana - One of the most popular Asura of our times. The ten headed physical description of Ravana is often drawn from the fact that, his acumen was unparalleled during those times i.e. his intelligence and capacity could beat that of ten ordinary men taken together.

3.       Humility and Dedication - Some of the stories seem to lay emphasis on the fact that Ravana waited all his life to die in the hands of Rama, who was a godly incarnation, with the ulterior motive of attaining ‘Moksha’.

4.       Creativity – Most of the Asuras were in possession of some endearing creative skills. If you take Ravana himself for instance, who was an adept instrumentalist – he played the Veena like nobody’s business.

5.       Despite the wrath, Asuras were fond of forging great friendships and being loyal to their kins.

6.       I often end up comparing Asuras to Lord Shiva – the strikingly similar appearances and habits, the unkempt hair and dressing, the heroic valor and the intense personalities who dare to go beyond what’s defined. 

7.       This may sound slightly (read: majorly) dim, but, I had a fond liking for the kind of weapons the Asuras crafted, in comparison to the other demi-gods.And this judgement of mine, comes from watching too much of the shoddy mythical TV shows of the 90's.

8.       Great warriors – The word Asura closely resembles ‘Ahura’ which is the Persian expression for a great warrior.

Perhaps, this is me being a believer of “Astrology for the Opportunist”, since I was born under the Asura Gana as per my Indian horoscope. However, it is a matter of perception, whether ones liking bent towards the brave one fighting for himself, or belonged to the successful and reticent, who maintained double standards. For years I questioned the perception I was born into, and finally put a finger on the fact that, maybe Asuras aren’t as bad as they were portrayed to be!

While researching for this piece, I came across a wonderful write-up on similar lines, some facts from which I have quoted in this article too - http://vak1969.com/tag/asuras/

22 March, 2015

'To the Edge of the World and Back'

From: Bangalore Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
One afternoon Sandra woke up startled rubbing her eyes from the ruins of a silly dream. She brushed aside Jack her Labrador as he grunted to snuggle closer. Sandra was one of her kind since school days. As a child she was never one to run to swings or chase butterflies. As a teenager, she was more excited about the science exhibition than the prom. As she grew up, her interest in archaeology and geography escalated and she majored in the 2 subjects with flying colors.

One fine day as she was doing her chores, the idea of the world having a geographical end accosted her. She cracked open at the thought of something that silly. She thought, “If there existed an end of that kind, I would go there during a cold sunset, holding Tim’s hand and tell the whole world that I found the edge of the world, and the love of my life.” She was perhaps, a tad bit philosophical for her generation, but no less a romantic.

A few years later, after some ground breaking leads on a silly afternoon dream, Sandra was ready to present her paper titled, “To the edge of the world and back” at an International Conference. The morning of the conference, she was accompanied by Tim and Jack to a run of the mill auditorium. They observed a crowd endorsing all kinds of intellects ranting about their latest research. Her cold hands clutched Tim’s in fear.

Sandra: “In front of all these people, I’ll be that infantile pseudo-intellect who gets jeered at. It has been a dream for so many years to present here among all these people, and yet, instead of enjoying this moment, all I can think of is how silly I am going to sound when I present my paper.”

Tim: “You’re going to be fine hon. You have the power to convince the world of truth, and I know you will wear it like a charm when it’s time to. And then, we will ourselves head over to the edge of the world."

In the matter of a few hours, it was finally her turn to present. She hesitated as she ascended the stage. As she announced her paper’s title, there was some suppressed laughter and mockery happening. Nevertheless, after seeing Tim and Jack seated there in the crowd, she decided to go ahead and present the research.

It took Sandra one and a half hours to explain the concept to the jury, as they gave her dubious glances. However, the audience was spell-bound when she geologically proved that there indeed, was a coordinate on their home planet Earth, which marked the edge of the world, so to say.

A few years hence, after a lot of research and calculation, an expedition was planned to the cold deserts of Antarctica. Sandra gripped on faith as she led the troupe to something that took birth at the premise of a lazy afternoon nap. A few months later, Sandra was adorned with the tag that described her as the one who discovered the edge of the world.  

Today, marks the 10th year after the edge of the world was found. They have made a town out of the place for welcoming hundreds of tourists who go here every day. They are usually seen thrilled to throw around status updates about the picturesque edge of the world alongside selfie’s with bored penguins.

Every year this day, Sandra, Tim and Jacky, travel to the edge of the world and back, as a gesture of their love for each other.

Sometimes, the power to imagine is where it all starts. So before you categorize, Santa Claus and Easter bunnies to be silly myths, think, What if they were real?

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.." - John Lennon

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

21 March, 2015

Faking Bad.

From: Bangalore Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
PC: www.teeporium.com

I read somewhere recently that, "Friendship is a lot like falling in love" - and I truly agree. In a crowd of zombies, when you spot that one person, who writes zeroes just like you do, has the same songs on the playlist as yours and believes in one too many little superstitions, knowing they are untrue - you know you want to be friends. ( Whatever happened to all of those hunches - hmph)

For the longest time in life I've been meaning to meet people, fresh and genuine people, with vivacious thoughts and dreams, just like mine. And I owe it to some bad luck, in the past 5 years, every body and every thing I have run across is as fake as the end of the world.

One of the few things I miss about childhood is the fact that it was so much easier to make friends. And then as I grew up, the only thing that has been giving me trouble is making friends. And in 99 out of my 100 experiences, right after the 'Friendship at first sight' happens, I find them fake and wave a goodbye.

With so much time and so many fake-ster encounters, I think I could safely summarize some of these encounters for your entertainment.

1. Hypocritical Fake.
Playing by the rules, someone who has hurt my friend, is always going to be somewhat of a question mark in my eyes. So I had a very close friend who could repeat lines from my Life's Story and that does not mean we were close. I am just somebody who rants and gives up too much information in the first encounter (I just get excited when I talk to people). This friend of mine could recite my Karma-will-get-back-at-you list like no one else. One afternoon, the friend decides to oblige to a party invitation from a name on that list, and comes back to tell me how fake the party was later.FAKE.

2. Hard Working Fake.
 Remember you had a best friend in school who'd ring up at two in the morning whimpering about the next days exam? Whatever happened to those sentiments. These days, if there is a call coming in at 2 AM before an exam, it's just to tell you that the concerned person has finished studying and is going to sleep. Oh and these fake-sters, they always end up scoring less than me - so SCORE. :P I mean which world are they in? Think of it, half the time when the faculty doesn't know what the subject is about who's this Einstein midst all of that who thinks they've discovered the end of the world and now it's finally time to rest? FAKE.

3. Networking Fake. 
Oh this is my favorite kind. Last year I happened to meet a bunch of MBA boys( or whatever you call boys who haven't yet achieved manhood). These guys had a strategy to fake networking - 
a) Call the person by a silly nick name,
b) Make sure the rest of the group calls them by the same creepy nick name.
c) Boast about the tales of their grandfathers, mothers palace in England and Rome and how they own a few pyramids in Egypt. 
d) Think that the person is floored by the tales. 
e) Add them on Facebook and call them next when you need a favor. (*party-horns*)

4. Insecure Fake.
Haha. Okay I am picturing somebody right now as I'm typing this out. So this person wants to do everything there is on this god damned planet. They want to be a rock star and a prince at the same time.I mean, we are not living a fairy tale, you don't get to sneak out at night in a pumpkin cart to sing at a concert and get back in before anybody realizes it was you. So these people will fake to be friends with everyone they know and jump on the bandwagon of new fads as it approaches. 

5. Social Fake.
This person is always complaining about why you never hang out with them. They are forever kissing cheeks and hugging more than conversing. They've clearly figured how to win over people's confidence. They are always making new and newer groups and socializing like there is no tomorrow. But deep down inside, they know their priorities and its likely that these people will leave you as soon as your social commonalities end. 

6. Loud Fake.
These people will scream out how much they love you in a crowd of 2 million and make sure they are heard. So tomorrow when someone comes to you and asks you to write them a birthday card, don't be surprised. They've already assumed you two are close. 

7. Facebook Fake.
Haven't you met people who are something online and entirely something else in person? Well I've been honored to have met quite a few of those retards. They are extremely good at pinning false achievements to the wall of fame but once you meet them in person, you wonder if it is the same person. Their FAKEBOOK profile says they led a troop for a vicious war, and in reality the person is someone who can't hurt a leaf, if they wanted to. 

8. Be-Cool Fake.
Oh! this is the most common kind. From trying to get selfies with celebrity look-alike's to learning to speak in a British accent, these people are fighting to look cool.If you walk up to them tomorrow saying being a Tomato is so cool, they might actually wear a Tomato suit to workplace the next day.

So that's for how many Fake-sters I can think of right now.

How are you holding up in this fake-town? 

PS: This post is dedicated to a friend of mine who always gets me thinking, Mathew!
PPS: He is far too innocent to be a fake-ster and is an amazing writer himself *respect*